Advisor, Language Arts & Literature - Middle School
Education: BA in English Literature, UC Berkeley; Single Subject in English, UC Berkeley; Multiple Credential, K-8, UC Berkeley; Cross-Cultural Language and Acquisition Development Credential (CLAD), Stanford University
Zanae Rodrigo grew up in Ventura, California. She attended Ventura Community College; UC Santa Barbara, where she majored in Cultural Anthropology; and UC Berkeley, where she majored in English Literature. After she graduated college, she worked in publishing for twenty years. As an in-house editor for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in San Diego, California, she edited college textbooks, mainly in the fields of mathematics, science, and medicine. When HBJ moved from San Diego to Texas, she formed her own company and worked several years as a freelance writer/editor for all of the major publishing companies, including HBJ, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin, and Pearson/Prentice Hall.
Sixteen years ago, Zanae decided she needed to do something truly meaningful. She decided she needed to be engaged in “right work,” the Buddhist concept of work that leaves the world a better place. Teaching seemed the obvious choice, for she had earned her teaching credentials but never used them. She asked herself, “How could it be any harder than editing college textbooks or running my own business?” She soon discovered that teaching was the hardest job she’d ever attempted; however, as she suspected, it was also the most rewarding.
Zanae’s first teaching job was as a Grade 8 English Teacher at a lockdown/gang school where 90% of the students spoke Spanish. Her middle son promptly sat her down and instructed her in the curse words she should be aware of so that the students didn’t use them when referring to her. She soon discovered that being called bad names was the least of her worries—poverty, hunger, a lack of English proficiency, and a lack of supplies were far harder to deal with.
She moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where she taught Grade 7 English at Kealakehe Intermediate School, a public school whose student body was a mixture of Hawaiian, Portuguese, and Caucasian. She then taught at Parker School, a private school located in Waimea. There, she met Mike, a retired software engineer from Microsoft. They married in 2007. Mike missed working in the Pacific Northwest, so they moved to Bellevue when he took another job at Microsoft.
Zanae taught at Torah Day School for four years where she developed their middle school program. She taught Grades 6-8 English, science, social studies, and mathematics. Her ability to teach math was directly related to the years she had edited college math textbooks, and she felt as though her working life had come full circle.
Zanae now lives in Marysville. She has a blended family of six kids, three of whom live in the Seattle area. She has four grandkids that live in North Carolina and Northern California and summers are spent traveling to visit them. She has the fattest kitty in the world called Meow-Meow who literally talks nonstop. A total geek, she spends her time reading and watching science fiction and fantasy movies and TV shows. In her spare time, she takes writing courses. She is working on a YA science fiction series titled Marked. She is actively writing and worldbuilding and hopes to finish the first book by next summer.
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